Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Is It Real, or Is It Internet? 

Wednesday, Apr 6 2011
Despite what you may have heard, the Internet is not actually made of cats or Charlie Sheen jokes or increasingly idiosyncratic porn. It’s made of giant, complex databases that store history’s most extensive library of office time-wasters and masturbation fodder. But no matter what kind of online content you’re consuming, there’s always an abstract, detached quality to the medium. The new sculpture exhibition "Jessica Drenk and Shawn Smith" brings those labyrinthine databases and compressed web images into the physical world. Drenk’s subjects are the information systems that undergird our global digital infrastructure. She creates minimalist works built from some of the most analog materials imaginable — cotton swabs, toothpicks, coffee filters, and other assorted trash. In doing so, her sculptures transform complex digital systems into elegantly simple totems. While Drenk simplifies the impossibly complex, Smith’s work resembles tech so archaic that folks born during the Clinton administration might mistake it for analog. His wooden sculptures are meticulous representations of two-dimensional images from the Internet and TV. A goat from a .jpg or an ibex from a nature program are re-created in the physical world, with results that resemble a cross between the pixel art of 8-bit Nintendo games and a giant Jenga puzzle. In both cases, the artists create physical representations of digitized images of the real world, resulting in a deliriously conceptual mindfuck.
April 7-14, 2011

About The Author

Paul M. Davis


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"